Assessing socio-economic factors in relation to stigmatization, impairment status, and selection for socio-economic rehabilitation: a 1-year cohort of new leprosy cases in north Bangladesh.

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TitleAssessing socio-economic factors in relation to stigmatization, impairment status, and selection for socio-economic rehabilitation: a 1-year cohort of new leprosy cases in north Bangladesh.
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsWithington SG, Joha S, Baird D, Brink M, Brink J
Abbrev. JournalLepr Rev
JournalLeprosy review
Year of Publication2003
Volume74
Issue2
Pagination120-32
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Aged, Bangladesh, Child, Female, Humans, Leprosy, Male, Middle Aged, Prejudice, Retrospective Studies, Rural Population, Severity of Illness Index, Social Class
Abstract

The current leprosy elimination strategy focuses almost exclusively on delivery of leprosy diagnostic services and multi-drug treatment (MDT). However, the specific problems of people newly diagnosed with leprosy or cured with MDT primarily relate to impairment of nerve function and social and economic consequences of the diagnosis of leprosy. This study was carried out to investigate the relation between socio-economic factors and the development of nerve impairments and stigma. In addition the relation between socio-economic factors and selection for socio-economic assistance was studied. The study population was a cohort of 2364 newly diagnosed people with leprosy in rural Bangladesh in 1996, including 42.5% women, with an overall mean age of 31.4 years. Three hundred and sixty people (15.2%) had WHO grade 1 or 2 disability identified at diagnosis, and 50 (2.1%) had stigma identified on interview at home visit conducted within one month of diagnosis. One hundred and eighty-eight people (8%) were selected for specific assistance for rehabilitation, primarily interest-free loans for income generating activities or vocational training. Factors independently associated with WHO grade 1 or 2 disability at diagnosis were multibacillary (MB) classification, adult status, and manual occupations. Smear positivity, female sex, and the presence of dependents were associated with an increase in the experience of stigma. The presence of nerve impairments and stigma, as well as several indices of poverty were clearly associated with selection for inclusion in an integrated program for socio-economic assistance. An increased focus by leprosy services on the socio-economic factors associated with poorer physical and social outcomes is recommended. Where adequate finances and trained staff are available, efforts could be made to identify those at higher risk of poor outcomes, and to provide or to mobilize appropriately targeted socio-economic interventions.

PubMed URL

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12862253?dopt=Abstract

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